How to Write a Business Plan

“Quality is the best business plan.” -John Lasseter (Chief Creative Officer of Pixar)

Writing a business platform doesn’t need to be challenging, it only requires a lot of perceptive strategies, realistic planning, and a whole lot of passion and drive. Whether you’re looking for a basic structure for a business pitch or an executive summary, the following are six essential elements you absolutely need in your company’s operation plan.

Optimize Your Business’ Goals

1. Market need and competition

What exactly is your business proposing to solve problems for consumers? Whether your business is a service, product, or both, you need to figure out why people would choose your brand over your competitors. What makes your brand unique and different than the alternatives?

Along with a business overview, come up with a value proposition about your business and how your brand’s value you will be providing to the public. When researching your competition, consider distance/location, pricing, quality, selections, and other services (e.g. delivery/shipping)

2. Target audience

Describe and know your ideal customer; age, gender, interests, income, and so on. Knowing your target audience for your business plan will help immensely with marketing strategies regarding social media, design/theme, voice, etc. If your brand contains different audiences, create separate marketing segments for each.

3. Marketing/advertising and budget

How will you drive traffic and retain customers? Be sure to describe all of your marketing channels that will help bring in revenue; online advertising, social media, coupons/promotions, foot traffic, etc.

When thinking through your budgeting strategy, think of how many you’ll sell and the cost to make or deliver your product/service. You also need to consider other expenses or investments to keep your business up and running.

4. Development and distribution/sales

Come up with strategies for your development and distribution models. How are you creating your product? Be sure to be detailed about your sourcing and manufacturing process. If you’re selling a service, how will it be delivered? How do you plan to sell your product? Will you be selling directly to consumers, selling wholesale, distributors, etc.?

5. Team

If you’re planning on building an empire, don’t expect to succeed from being a one-man show. Hiring specific professionals to work for your business adds different skills and traits for your company to flourish. What roles do you need to be filled? Are you business partners/investors the right people for the company?

6. Goals

True success is measured. Come up with a timeline of dates and corresponding goals in ways you’d like to see your company in 5 months, 2 years, 10 years, etc. Always tracking your milestones can keep the operation of your business in full flight with a realistic direction. This is essential for improving specific strategies and business models if needed.